What are the triad bands

Violence and chaos during protests in Hong Kong

After days of mostly peaceful rallies, the protests in Hong Kong have turned into violence. The clashes initially took place in front of the government buildings, which were blocked by the demonstrators. Later there were clashes with counter-demonstrators in two lively shopping streets, among whom there are said to have been angry residents and business people, but also organized thugs. There were chaotic scenes and sometimes tough arguments with the security forces.

The police blame mafia-style triad gangs for the violent attacks. Activists suspect pro-Beijing forces sent the thugs. The police speak of 19 people arrested. Eight of them are said to have connections to the Hong Kong underworld.

Criticism of the behavior of the police

In the financial metropolis, however, there is also a rumor that the police themselves used the criminals to intimidate the democracy movement. Protesters, reporters and MPs unanimously accused the law enforcement officers of not intervening against the attacks on peaceful protesters on Friday.

Democratic MP Albert Ho told AFP that the police were very lenient to the provocateurs: "I have reason to believe that this is the last option for Hong Kong's powerful to get the protests off the streets."

In response to the violence, some of the student leaders declared talks with the Chinese Special Administrative Region government scheduled for Saturday "on hold". The student union demanded more forceful police protection. One has "no more confidence in the state power".

Challenge to the CP

Tens of thousands of demonstrators in the former British crown colony have been bracing themselves for days against an electoral reform decided by China. Although the people of Hong Kong should be able to directly elect a head of administration for the first time in 2017, the government in Beijing wants to select the candidates beforehand.

The students are also calling for the resignation of head of administration Leung Chun Ying, whom they accuse of being a henchman for the Beijing Communists. However, Leung categorically refuses to resign. Observers speak of the worst crisis since Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997.

djo / ml (afpe, ape, dpa)